Line-Up for everything immersive at Tribeca this year

Who is excited for Tribeca and their experiential story project line-up? I am looks. Really great! See what all is showing below.

THE COMPLETE LINEUP FOR EXPERIENTIAL STORYTELLING AT THE TRIBECA 2016 FESTIVAL HUB

BY THE EDITORS

For the second year in a row, the Tribeca Festival Hub will be your destination for the best in tech, innovation, and experiential storytelling.

Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you were blind? Or how intensely lonely it'd be to live in solitary confinement? Maybe you're a horror movie fanatic who'd love to test your survival skills during an actual, machete-whizzing-past-your-face slasher movie sequence. Or you're one of the millions of people who watch Game of Thrones and wish they, too, could fly on a dragon's back, like the ever-badass Daenerys Targaryen. But even if you aren't jealous of the almighty Khaleesi, you've surely daydreamed about joining forces with cuddly little bunnies to stop a potentially cataclysmic alien invasion. Because obviously.

Two months from now, you'll be able to do all of that and more inside one venue: the Tribeca Festival Hub.

As wildly varied as those situations may seem, they all share a common through-line: They're just a few of the many experiential storytelling options that you'll find inside the Tribeca Festival Hub as part of the 15th Tribeca Film Festival, taking place April 13-24. After making its debut at last year’s Festival, the Hub, located at 50 Varick Street, will once again be Tribeca's epicenter for innovation. From April 14-20, the Hub will host 23 VR exhibits and interactive installations, including 15 world premieres.

"Tribeca has always celebrated the most exciting new forms of storytelling, from video games to virtual reality," said Jane Rosenthal, co-founder Tribeca Film Festival and Executive Chair of Tribeca Enterprises. "This year’s program, which you can touch and feel at our amazing Festival Hub at Spring Studios, features the most dynamic work to date at the intersection of story and technology. We're committed to giving the independent artists we support the best stage to share their mind-blowing work with audiences."

Are you a fiction-loving cinephile? Thanks to Tribeca's first-everVirtual Arcade, dedicated to user-friendly VR filmmaking, you'll get to inhabit a beautifully rendered animated world above the clouds (Allumette), cruise through the streets of South Central, Los Angeles, in the backseat of a convertible (Hard World for Small Things), and watch Ian Ziering chop through a monster with a huge machete with the help of Sharknado overseer Anthony C. Ferrante (Killer Deal). You're more into documentaries, though? Breathe easy, because Tribeca's fourth annual Storyscapes program features immersive VR looks and video installations exploring police brutality (The Argus Project), how millennials process whiteness and the need for racial acceptance (Intersection of I), and the efforts being made to save the last three living white rhinos from extinction (The Ark).

"Our experiential program is what happens when artists create wildly different adventures that go outside traditional methods. Here, stories are not passively watched, they are actually 'experienced'—you are a participant," said Genna Terranova, Festival Director. "Today, virtual reality offers a new landscape for creating worlds and stories. At its best it can be a powerful vehicle for magically transportive explorations that test the limits of our imaginations and psyches."

The 2016 Tribeca Film Festival's innovation blowout will kick off viaStoryscapes, with 10 VR and interactive installations competing for a juried award and on display April 14-17. On April 16, the fifth annualTFI Interactive will gather the world’s foremost media, gaming, and tech minds for an all-day forum. And from April 18-20, Tribeca will launch its Virtual Arcade, a showcase of documentary and narrative virtual reality projects touching on music, gaming, and journalism.

Hacked by DEF CON and MR. ROBOT will bring the world's largest underground hacking conference back to Tribeca on April 15-17, following the 2015 Festival’s inaugural DEF CON program—this year, it’s sponsored by the USA Network's hacker-minded hit show Mr. Robot. And lastly, the Games for Change Games and Media Summit, scheduled for April 18, will offer up the next wave of forward-thinking and socially conscious video games.

Festival Hub Passes are available now to the general public and provide a hands-on opportunity to experience the best in entertainment and its collision with technology. Passes are currently on sale for $399.00 here at tribecafilm.com. Single tickets for each program will go on sale March 29, 2016.

Here’s the section-by-section breakdown of all things innovation that you’ll find inside the Tribeca Festival Hub. To say that it’s "stacked" would be a serious understatement.


STORYSCAPES


Storyscapes projects at the 2016 Festival, open April 14-17, feature both installations and VR. The program includes projects that grapple with issues of racism, violence and harm inflicted on our planet, combining the excitement of these new immersive mediums tempered with the urgency of a world on fire. It is in turns thrilling, upsetting, shocking, and wonderful, much like the world we live in.

"This year’s Storyscapes offerings are a reflection of today’s world. We live in a very charged period—from the political landscape to unprecedented violence—and the Storyscapes installations are compelling and engaging experiences that balance some of the sobering issues facing society, as well as inspiring and
wonderful ones," said Ingrid Kopp, Storyscapes curator.

One project will be selected by a jury to receive the Storyscapes Award, which recognizes groundbreaking approaches in storytelling and technology. The 2016 Storyscapes selections include:


VR


The Ark (World Premiere)
Project Creators: Jongsma + O’Neill (Eline Jongsma and Kel O’Neill)
Key Collaborators: Springbok Entertainment
The northern white rhinoceros is the most endangered animal on the planet. Only three remain, and they are protected at all times by armed bodyguards. The Ark is a virtual reality documentary that puts viewers face-to-face with the last northern white rhinos, and tells the story of the global coalition scientists who are fighting to rescue the species from extinction.

DEEP VR (North American Premiere)
Project Creators: Owen Harris and Niki Smit
Key Collaborators: Cinekid, Paradoxical Recordings, Bryan Duggan
DEEP VR is a meditative and psychoactive VR experience, controlled by the player’s breathing. Discover a beautiful underwater seascape where the world challenges, surprises, and comforts. Explore the ways in which VR can change our relationship with both body and mind.

Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness
Project Creators: Arnaud Colinart, Amaury La Burthe, Peter Middleton, James Spinney 
After losing his sight in 1983, John Hull began recording an audio-diary documenting his discovery of "a world beyond sight." John's original recordings form the basis of this interactive experience, which uses real time 3D, virtual reality, and binaural sound to explore the interior world of blindness. (This project is a 2015 Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund grantee.)

SENS (World Premiere)
Project Creators: Charles Ayats, Armand Lemarchand, and Marc-Antoine Mathieu
Key Collaborators: Calcumentor, Franck Weber
SENS is the first project to adapt a graphic novel into a virtual reality. It is also a beautifully universal experience that works without words. The game invites you to a trip through a graphic maze: all around you are arrows in ever-changing shapes, showing you the way. Where will it lead you? (Ayats served as the designer of Climate Anxiety atTribeca Hacks <Story Matter> in 2015.)

The Turning Forest (World Premiere)
Project Creator: Oscar Raby
Key Collaborators: BBC R&D and S3A, and Shelley Silas 
In a land that never was and a time that could never be, a boy stared into the eyes of a fantastical creature. Around them, a magical forest; in front of them, a magical journey. The Turning Forest is a real-time CG VR experience for people young and old--inviting audiences into a magical space of imagination, where rustling leaves are also the footsteps of something familiar, yet strange. In this place, things are not quite what they seem.


INSTALLATIONS

6X9: An Immersive Experience of Solitary Confinement
Project Creators: The Guardian’s Francesca Panetta and Lindsay Poulton
Key Collaborator: The Mill
Right now, 80,000-100,000 people are in solitary confinement in the US. They spend 22-24 hours a day in their cells, with little to no human contact for days or even decades. The sensory deprivation they endure causes severe psychological damage. These people are invisible to us—and eventually to themselves. (This is a virtual reality project featured as an installation for the first time. It is also a 2016 TFI New Media Fund grantee.)

The Argus Project
Project Creators: Gan Golan, Raquel de Anda, Julien Terrell, Ligaiya Romero
A 2016 TFI New Media Fund grantee, The Argus Project is a trans-media project that directly intersects the public debate over police accountability. At the center stands a suit of tactical counter-surveillance armor embedded with body cameras that offers a simple question: “If the police wear body armor to protect themselves while in public, what must “The Public” wear to protect themselves from the police?" Video projections surround the suit featuring former officers, activists, and family members directly impacted by police violence, creating a space for a real conversation on police violence—one that our country desperately needs.

Intersection of I (World Premiere)
Project Creator: Whitney Dow
Key Collaborators: John Kudos, Ada Tolla, Giuseppe Lignano, Michelle Byrd
Intersection of I is an immersive video installation, part of Whitney Dow's ongoing Whiteness Project, which is a 2015 TFI New Media Fund grantee. It combines video, data visualization, and interactivity to explore how millennials who identify as white, or partially white, process their racial identity.

Network Effect
Project Creators: Jonathan Harris and Gregor Hochmuth
Network Effect explores the psychological effect of Internet use on humanity. Like the Internet itself, the project is effectively endless, containing video clips, spoken sentences, news, tweets, charts, graphs, lists, and millions of individual data points. The result is a voyeuristic and unnerving experience about our over-stimulated digital lives.

Seances (World Premiere)
Project Creator: Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson
Seances, co-created with the National Film Board of Canada, presents a wholly new way of experiencing film narrative. By dynamically generating a series of film sequences in unique configurations, potentially hundreds of thousands of new stories will be conjured by code. Each will exist only in the moment—no pausing, scrubbing or sharing—offering the audience one chance to see this film.


VIRTUAL ARCADE


Virtual Arcade debuts at the 2016 Festival, helping to expand the immersive entertainment slate with nine additional VR experiences from some of the leading creators and emerging voices in this new medium. The selections, available April 18-20, include:

ALLUMETTE (World Premiere)
Project Creators: Eugene Chung, Jimmy Maidens, Penrose Studios
An orphan girl, living in a fantastical city in clouds, endures tragedy. Lighting enchanted matches, she relives her past and grasps at future hope. The story is a meditation on the sacrifices people make for the greater good. Crafted by Penrose Studios, ALLUMETTE is set in a fully immersive, virtual reality world.

THE ARTISTS OF SKID ROW (World Premiere)
Project Creator: Molly Swenson, Tyson Sadler, Hayley Pappas/RYOT
Key Collaborators: Bryn Mooser, LAMP
Ramiro Puentes is an outstanding artist—photographs, paintings, sculpture, poetry. But more than that, he’s risen from crippling poverty and used art to reimagine the streets of Skid Row.

ASHES (World Premiere)
Project Creator: Jessica Kantor/supported by Vrideo
Playing with movement, space and time, ASHES shares the tragic story of two lovers, told specifically for 360-headset environment. Director/Producer Jessica Kantor draws upon her classical ballet training to bring us this unique piece inspired by choreographer Pina Bausch, known for telling stories through dance.

The Crystal Reef (World Premiere)
Project Creator: Cody Karutz and Lauren Knapp/Stanford University
Key Collaborator: Jeremy Bailenson
A rocky reef off the coast of Italy demonstrates the future of climate change. Meet Dr. Fio Micheli, the marine scientist who studies this reef, and dive underwater with her to learn about ocean acidification and how human-produced carbon dioxide will turn all the world’s oceans into what scientists are calling “the ocean moonscape.”

The Crystal Reef: Interactive (World Premiere) 
Project Creator: The Virtual Human Interaction Lab (VHIL)
Key Collaborator: Stanford University
Experience climate change firsthand in this fully immersive virtual reality experience. Use your hands to swim and examine marine life as you become a scientist and discover "ocean acidification." Dive through a digital replica of the reefs of Ischia, Italy and learn about how these reefs are a "crystal ball" that show the future of all the world’s oceans.

DRAGONFLIGHT (World Premiere)
Project Creators: Michael Conelly, Will Telford, Keith Goldfarb, Lyndon Barrois/Blackthorn Media
A spectacular dragon embarks on a hero’s journey to do battle against a duplicitous sorcerer and protect the world from the second coming of his ancient and powerful progenitor. DRAGONFLIGHT is the debut project of VR studio Blackthorn Media, an Academy and Emmy Award-winning team of story-tellers, visual effects veterans, programmers and artists.

HARD WORLD FOR SMALL THINGS (NY Premiere)
Project Creator: Janicza Bravo/WEVR
Key Collaborators: Wevr, Seed&Spark, Han West
Award-winning film and theater director Janicza Bravo ventures into the world of VR with an exploration of the circumstances and lives affected by a single tragedy in Los Angeles. Drawing from a real-life experience, Bravo and studio collaborators WEVR craft a remarkably powerful narrative that culminates in a devastating conclusion.

HOLIDAYS: CHRISTMAS VR (World Premiere)
Project Creators: Distant Corners, Scott Stewart, Amanda Mortimer, Gabriela Revilla Lugo, WEVR
When a man stoops to dangerous new lows to get his son the ultimate VR headset for Christmas, he finds out more about himself and his family than he ever wanted to know. From writer/director Scott Stewart (LegionPriest) and starring Emmy Award-winning actor Seth Green and Clare Grant, CHRISTMAS is part of Distant Corners' HOLIDAYS anthology feature created by John Hegeman and produced in association with XYZ Films.

INVASION! (World Premiere)
Project Creator: Eric Darnell. Maureen Fan/Baobab Studios
Directed by Eric Darnell (AntzMadagascar), this interactive and animated film follows menacing aliens with vastly superior technology who come to claim the Earth and destroy anyone in their way. Despite incredible odds, Earth's citizens rise up and defeat the evil aliens. Surprisingly, these Earthly citizens are not humans but a pair of the cutest, meekest and cuddliest creatures of our planet: two fluffy white bunnies.

KANJU (World Premiere)
Project Creator: Stephanie Riggs/Azimyth Creation Studios
Key Collaborator: The Nantucket Project, Harbers Studios
Journey across Africa in search of Kanju, “creativity born of struggle.” Visit a floating school rising from the slums of Makoko. Witness President Obama's historic speech in Nairobi from the press pit. This uplifting, immersive documentary seamlessly layers traditional narrative techniques and 360° live action. Feel the power of storytelling merged with technology and rediscover Africa as the bright continent.

KILLER DEAL (World Premiere)
Project Creators: Irad Eyal, Aaron Rothman, Anthony C. Ferrante, iMan Productions, Better VR Studios
Key Collaborator: Ian Ziering
Directed by Anthony C. Ferrante (Sharknado 1, 2 & 3), Killer Dealfollows a struggling machete salesman who runs into trouble when his discount hotel room comes with an unwelcome guest. A very unwelcome guest. The experience takes all the things we love about over-the-top horror and puts the viewer right in the middle of the "splash zone."

My Mother’s Wing
Project Creators: Gabo Arora, Ari Palitz/Vrse.works
Key Collaborators: Chris Milk, Patrick Milling Smith, Samantha Storr
In Gaza, foundations are built, destroyed, and built again. This virtual reality experience follows the struggle and strength of a mother coping with the death of her two children in the 2014 war.

Old Friend (U.S. Premiere)
Project Creator: Tyler Hurd/WEVR
Lose yourself in a vibrant psychedelic dance party brimming with joyful insanity. VR filmmaker Tyler Hurd and WEVR present a fun animated VR music video experience for Old Friend by Future Islands. Gaze upon the elegant dance routines and enjoy the blissful absurdity. Unhinge yourself, feel the ridiculousness and dance like everyone is watching.


DEF CON


HACKED by DEF CON and MR. ROBOT, returns to the Festival this year on April 15-17, sponsored by USA Network’s Golden Globe® Award winning series MR. ROBOT. Started by The Dark Tangent, also known as computer and internet security expert Jeff Moss, DEF CON has grown into the world's biggest underground hacking conference.

Inspired by film and current events, festival goers will be invited to explore and participate in hack-type scenarios to further illustrate the importance of understanding technology, surveillance and digital security within our society. The event will feature six villages: hands-on, public-facing workshops and activities, including Social Engineering and BioHacking Villages, which are new to the Festival, and the return of Lock Picking, Tamper-Evident, Hardware Hacking and the Crypto & Privacy Villages. The collaborative program will also include panels that will tackle the authentic representation of hacker culture, tools, and techniques within film and TV.


GAMES FOR CHANGE


Games for Change continues its partnership with Tribeca Film Festival for the third year, hosting the Games and Media Summit. The day-long event on April 18 will feature gaming innovators and industry voices leading the charge in shaping the way we feel, play, work and interact with games, technology and media. With a hands-on arcade as well as talks, panels and demos, the summit will spotlight new possibilities for impact through virtual reality, biofeedback, augmented reality, wearables, and more. Additionally, the Games and Media Summit will also feature its first-ever Charity Game-a-thon. In partnership with 3BlackDot, two of the top YouTube gaming celebrities, Tom Syndicate and Captain Sparklez, will play video games to raise money for GameChanger Charity, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to positively impact the lives of children suffering from life-threatening illnesses through video games.

Confirmed speakers include: Adam Gazzaley M.D., Ph.D. (director, Neuroscience Imaging Center), Yoni Bloch (co-founder and president, Interlude), Catherine Devine (Chief Digital Officer at AMNH), Amy Robinson (creative director, Eyewire), Dirk Van Dall (Vice President of Multimedia Strategy, Major League Baseball), and Dan Gray(Executive Producer & Studio Head, Ustwo Games).

Samsung, LG, and Facebook Pushing VR to the Masses

The Samsung big reveal was not what we all wished for it to be, which would have been included positional tracking, but it all is making sure that VR is becoming a big part of our life and will not go anywhere. 

SAMSUNG, LG, AND FACEBOOK PUT VR IN THE HANDS OF THE MASSES

by TIM MOYNIHAN via www.wired.com

Samsung's new Gear 360 camera makes it easier for consumers to capture their own 360-degree videos for viewing in the Gear VR headset.

Samsung's new Gear 360 camera makes it easier for consumers to capture their own 360-degree videos for viewing in the Gear VR headset.

WITH THE COMPANY’S announcements at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung is pushing the point that VR is a very good reason to buy its phones.

Not that the company’s latest Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge handsets need VR to be compelling: Their cameras look bonkers-good, they’re both waterproof, and their components are bleeding-edge. But they’re also both compatible with the existing Gear VR headset, and Samsung announced it’ll be throwing in a free Gear VR and six games if you preorder one of the new Galaxy phones before March 18.

It’s an important push for wider adoption of VR, which is still in its nascent stages. Even in these early days, it’s clear that immersive display technologies aren’t just built for one type of experience or one type of buyer. Like TVs, laptops, or smartphones, virtual reality headsets can be used to do a number of things: View 360-degree videos built specifically for them, play next-generation games, or simply watch 2-D Netflix movies in a virtual theater. Also, prices vary widely, from $1,500 for an Oculus Rift and a computers to power it, to quick-and-dirty $25 phone-driven experiences like Google Cardboard.

Somewhere in the middle is Samsung’s Gear VR headset. It uses the company’s latest Galaxy S and Galaxy Note phones as displays and processing hubs, making it a similar experience to Cardboard. But the $99 Gear VR headset is a lot more comfy than a fold-up cardboard viewer, and between the Oculus and Milk VR stores accessible through the device, there’s a lot more content to play around with. It doesn’t have the positional tracking or hard-core gaming abilities that computer- and console-driven headsets will have once they’re available, but there are innovative gamesand 360-degree experiences galore.

Facebook on Your Face

The other big Gear VR news from MWC came from Facebook. The company announced its Facebook 360 videos have been optimized for playback on Gear VR, and that they’ll be viewable via Gear VR in the coming weeks. The optimization involves a smart allocation of video resolution based on where the viewer is looking: Rather than feed a full 360-degrees of video at its highest resolution at all times, Facebook says the delivery system will adjust the resolution depending on where you’re looking, providing high-resolution feeds without requiring ridiculous amounts of bandwidth.

That won’t just give the masses a first taste of “social VR,” as Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg describes it, but it will also put creating VR experiences squarely in the hands of consumers. And mobile giants are expanding their VR offerings to cover that piece of the puzzle, taking a crack at an end-to-end creating/viewing pipeline.

Seoul Feud

If you follow the world of TVs, you’re aware that Samsung and LG trade punches on the regular. That’s happening in VR too: Also at MWC, LG announced a VR headset to go along with its latest flagship phone, the LG G5. But it’s an entirely different animal. The Cardboard-compatible LG 360 headset is small; closer to Geordi La Forge’s wraparounds than a pair of ski goggles. The smaller size is possible because it has its own displays; you use the G5 as a USB-C-tethered brain for it. But unlike Samsung’s Gear VR, LG’s headset is an accessory rather than a platform unto itself.

It’s on the content-creation side that both South Korean tech giants have similar plans. Both LG and Samsung announced slick, easy-to-use compact cameras that record video and still images in 360 degrees, designed to be used with their new flagship phones.

The LG 360 CAM is like a Flip for VR, shooting 360-degree photos and video with two 13-megapixel sensors tucked behind a pair of 200-degree field-of-view lenses. It also records 5.1 surround-sound audio, and the videos are built to share via YouTube 360 and Google Street View. Samsung’s new camera is the Gear 360, and it’s a little orb somewhere between the size of a golf ball and baseball. The spherical VR camera records 3840×1920 video with a pair of 150-megapixel sensors through F2.0 lenses, and it comes with its own little tripod.

To be sure, there have been 360-degree video and still cameras before, but most of them have been high-priced professional models or lower-end consumer gadgets without a significant hook to a platform or mobile device. Combined with the Facebook announcement, the introduction of these big-name 360 cameras could be an interesting shift in the way the general public thinks about VR. Rather than something to be consumed, VR has a chance to be a creative medium for the common man—one that normal people can help pioneer without a whole lot of prior art.